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Remembering Yvonne Perkins

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April 14, 1950 – Nov. 10, 2016

Yvonne Perkins, a loving mother and grandmother, devoted friend and public servant, and a dedicated employee, passed away Nov. 10, 2016. She was born to the late Leander O. Perkins and Naomi Coleman Perkins in Indianapolis, Indiana.

She attended Indianapolis Public Schools, earning her diploma from the historic Shortridge High School. After high school, Yvonne enrolled at Butler University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1971. While still a student at Butler, Yvonne began working at Citizens Energy Group, serving as a student accountant. She remained at Citizens for the duration of her professional career.

In 1993, Yvonne received her MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. She was deeply committed to education and staying current on the latest professional trends, so throughout her career she participated in several programs at various institutions including Claremont College, the University of Oklahoma and the distinguished Harvard University. 

During her 43-year tenure at Citizens Energy Group, Yvonne served in multiple leadership positions including general accountant supervisor, economic development manager, director of corporate affairs, vice president of community relations, and most recently, vice president of corporate communications and chief diversity officer. 

Yvonne was a visionary who had the distinct ability to assess the needs of Citizens Energy Group in a way that propelled the utility company forward, helping it to become a local and national leader in the industry. Some of Yvonne’s innovations at Citizens included developing the company’s Corporate Philanthropy Strategic Plan, the first Diversity Strategic Plan, publishing Citizens’ first Corporate Responsibility Report and establishing four endowed scholarships in the utility’s name to help Indianapolis students pursue higher education. She was also instrumental in the development of the company’s website, providing leadership for the corporate name change, and implementing strategies for the re-use of the former Citizens Coke Manufacturing facility.

Yvonne was highly skilled in fiduciary responsibilities, which led to her forming her own CPA firm — something she took extreme pride in. 

Yvonne was also incredibly knowledgeable in nonprofit governance issues and community needs. These characteristics aligned perfectly with her civic endeavors. She served in national capacities for her beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and Girls Scouts of the USA. Yvonne was also a charter member of the Circle City Chapter of The Links Inc. and the Coalition of 100 Black Women. She served on dozens of boards including United Way of Central Indiana, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Historical Society.  

Yvonne’s passion for helping the community was evident in her performance and praised by her peers. She was fortunate to receive a multitude of local and national awards, such as the IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award, the National Association of Women Business Owners Award, and lifetime achievement awards from the YWCA of Indianapolis and United Way of Central Indiana. She was also the recipient of Indiana’s highest civilian honor: the Sagamore of the Wabash.

Yvonne was a longtime member of Allen Chapel AME Church. She thoroughly enjoyed traveling around the world with her friends and family as well as shopping. She is survived by her daughter, Kimberly Black, grandson, Davyd Hall, and a host of family and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. EAF, Yvonne Perkins Scholarship Fund, 5656 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60637.

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